Introspection

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I hear of people who go off by themselves for days at a time to look inward and outward experiencing self-awareness and spiritual renewal! I never understood that at all. For me life is full of interaction and connection that stimulates my mind and soul. Some may think I am shallow as a result, but for me introspection comes through connection.
Climbing down into the darkness of being alone;
Feeling lost and disconnected with others all around.
It’s like making my way through mind mazes with no exit…
Finding more than I bargained for in this cavern of the soul.
No // I must stay connected to thrive feeding off others.
I never found myself a good enough friend to myself
to make me want to become a recluse.
Short stints of contemplation are fine;
An evening of writing poetry stimulates my mind;
But // I would never ever want to be alone
over any lengthy period of time

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Bjorn at d’Verse asked us to think about how we handle solitude. Many folks have had to deal with being disconnected and alone during this time of pandemic! There is a sense of loss that come with that, but it is a time that can be used for creative purposes as well.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

 

Feeling Rejected

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On Good Friday Christians reflect on the death of Christ on the cross, and what his sacrifice means for us. The human side of Jesus suffered unspeakable physical pain. Some say that God will give you strength in your time of need. But it is my experience that when that time comes, it is very difficult to feel that presence. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, wondering why God had forsaken him in his darkest hour. Pain and rejection seem to be Siamese Twins! It is very hard to have your whole world collapse and not feel rejected. This is why it is so important to have persons who will walk with you and help you regain your perspective once more, understanding that God loves you even when you don’t feel it.

Dark night of the soul
Feelings rejection’s pain
Forsaken // alone
Stretched out on life’s cruel cross
Has God turned his face from us?
In His pain he cried
“My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me!?”
Feeling rejection’s pain
In that dark night of the soul

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Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Her Perspective

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How big the world must look to one so young
With all its overflowing challenges;
A chasm most daunting // stretched and far flung;
It spreads in all directions and ranges.
From your high safe perch on that giant rock,
You might feel secure // a place to call home;
But, you know in the future you will walk
Across that river of life all alone.
How big the world seems sitting on a rock

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

This evening is open link night at d’Verse. Join us at:

https://dversepoets.com

All Alone

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Many years ago I went through a very difficult time in my life. Everything was turned upside down and I did not know which way to turn. Nothing helped. It was during this time that I felt like Job…lost and alone. So, like Job I questioned God. asking why I did not find help in my time of need. I, unlike Job, did not get a scathing reply, but in time things did level out and life was as good as it ever was before.

WHERE WERE YOU GOD?
WHERE WERE YOU GOD // WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST
WHEN MY LIFE COLLAPSED AND MY LIFE TURNED BLACK?

GOD // WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I EXPECTED THAT YOU CARED
WHEN I BELIEVED // I TRUSTED // AND THOUGHT YOU HEARD?

WHERE WAS THE PROMISED PEACE OF MIND…
THAT THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES I DID NOT FIND?

WHEN I WALKED THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH
I FEARED EVERY EVIL // I FELT ALL THE PAIN

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I CRIED OUT IN PAIN
WHEN I PLEADED // I BEGGED // AND CALLED YOUR NAME?

WHEN I HURT SO BAD I WISHED I COULD DIE,
WERE YOU THERE TO SEE // DID YOU HEAR MY CRY?

I COULD NOT TELL // I FELT LEFT TO FATE…
WITH NO WAY TO HELP // BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE

WOULD ALL THAT HAPPENED, HAVE HAPPENED ANYWAY
OR WERE YOU THERE // WHAT DO YOU SAY?

WHERE WERE YOU GOD, WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?

~1995~

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Frank, at d’Verse asked us to write a poem about frustration, disappointment or heartbreak.   Come join in with all the fun.

https://dversepoets.com

Alone

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One of the hardest questions to answer is why doesn’t God answer my prayer. In the middle of tragedy and loss we wonder why God allows this to happen. When it comes to broken relationships it is easy to feel isolated and alone, thinking no one understands. No one cares about my situation, not even God! But, we are not puppets. We are creatures of freewill and as a result God does not intervene in our choices. Pain and tragedy come and we all seem to go through our struggles. God is there. He still listens and hears our cries. But he does not take us out of troubles he helps us through. If we understand this we can move forward through the darkness to the light of his love.

 I Cry Alone

I cry alone I cry alone for no seems to care

So I cry alone

The depth of hurt I know the knife of pain

Cut deep into my soul when no answers came

I cry alone, I cry alone, for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

I cry but you’re not there I’m all alone

Helpless and empty the pain is always there

So I cry alone

I cry alone, I cry alone, for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

Lord are you really there you seem so far away

My life sits on the edge no one’s here for me

So I cry alone

I cry alone, I cry alone for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

For no one feels the pain    …of what I bear

 

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Back Alley in Philadelphia 001

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Some Stand Alone

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Some Stand Alone

Few it may be who can survive alone

Facing summer’s heat and winter’s cold

Grounded in their own strength

Very few stand alone undaunted

Rising high above the landscape

A tower of strength bowing to no one

No need for intertwined arms

Holding up others by their interlocking

Some find strength within themselves

Deeply rooted where waters rise

Feeding the inner being with life and energy

Like a monk in the mountain monastery

Providing shade that no one ever stands in

Viewed from afar with Goliath’s awe

Passed every day by thousands too busy

To find solitude under its spreading branches

Wondering as they go  flying by what it is

That makes something so beautiful

Stand alone

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Photo: Dwight Roth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roots

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Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle had a hit song that said, “I am a rock, I am an island. For a rock feels no pain and an island never cries…”  The isolated aloneness of this song makes me say, “No that’s not me!”    I cannot imagine living without my family roots.  They give me a sense of history and a set of values, morals and faith that I have drawn on all my life.   I believe roots are necessary whether they are birth family, an adopted family, or community of faith. Life must be very lonely  without connection to our roots.

Roots                                

Without roots

We are pulled weeds

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Tossed in the pathway of life

Rooted out

Sometimes by our own choosing

Or pulled from family gardens

Thrown onto the pathway of life

By cynicism and judgement

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To be trampled underfoot

But our roots can still grow

Alone in the hard cracks of humanity

Rising again and again

To bloom one last time

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Courageous strength

Refusing to dry up

In the pathway of life

No matter what comes our way

Without embedded roots

We are only  tumbleweeds

Dust in the wind

In a desert of humanity

 

Black Holes in My Brain

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One of the most difficult things one can encounter is losing control of your life. This poem is an account of the anxieties and feeling of loss that occurred when my father-in-law realized he could no longer remember what was happening in his life. His wife was diagnosed with brain cancer and he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. We were waiting for a facility to open where he could receive the care he needed.  During that interim period he experienced great anxiety which is depicted in the sometimes word for word dialogue poem below.

Black Holes In My Brain

“I have come to discover that I now have black holes in my brain.

Spaces of emptiness that never get filled.

Like the holes in my pants pocket the memories slip out…”

“Oh, you are here? Well I didn’t realize! When did you get here?

You have been here a few weeks? Well I didn’t remember.

Tell me something I should know…

What shall we talk about…”

“Can I do something for you… do you need a light on?

Would you like to watch the News if I turn it on?

Do you want me to set the table for breakfast?

Can I help you in some way?

Would you like a piece of chocolate? Go ahead have one!”

“Is this Sunday? Are we going to church today?

Where is Mother & when is she coming home?

She won’t be coming back home? Oh my!

These are things I should remember.

When will we go to see here again? Can we go today?

We were there today?

Why can’t I remember? Were we just there today?!”

“I remember my grandmother was just like this.

She would apologize for her poor memory all the time.

I hope I never get that way.”

“By the way, where is Mother?

Do you know when she will be back?

She’s at the home!!? I didn’t know.

Somebody should have told me!”

“When will she be coming home?

You say she won’t be coming home!?

Oh my, I will have to learn to cook!

Perhaps you can show me how to cook…”

I will have to take care of myself.

“I just discovered I have no money in my wallet!

Can you take me by the bank tomorrow to cash a check?

I should pay you something for your expenses.

You are keeping the expenses on a tab?

Well, I should pay you.

You will take care of me? But you can’t keep coming to stay with me?

I should pay you something to help with the expenses.

You are using a debit card… from my account?

Well, I wonder why the bank didn’t notify me about this.”

“Tell me, Where is Mother?

Oh yes, she is at the home… up on 104th Avenue…

near Hollyrood close to the church.

Have I ever been there? I have… I don’t seem to remember.

Will she be coming home this evening?

She’s Living there… all the time? For how long!?

She won’t be coming home again? Is she sick? What is wrong with her?”

“Can you take me with you when you go to see her?

Can we go this evening to see her?

We were just there this afternoon? Why can’t I remember that?”

“Good night, I must check to see that the door is locked.

I just came back out to see if I had locked the door.

Well it looks like all the doors are locked.

Is anybody there…

Oh, I just came back out to check to see if the door was locked.”

“Good Morning… Where is Helen?”

 

The “Just Fine” Mask

EER_0783What kind of mask do you wear?  Most of us at some time in our life have put on a mask to hide what is happening in our life. On the outside we appear to be doing well, but on the inside we are not “Just Fine!”  “Don’t worry, Be happy!” might work well in the words of a song, but many people are not ready to reveal themselves because of the fear they won’t be heard. My former pastor used to say, “What’s happening is not always what’s going on!” Take time for your friends and co-workers. Listen and find out what is really going on. This poem speaks to our superficiality and how it affects us.

The “Just Fine” Mask

“How are you?” “Oh, I am just fine!”

How easy to protect ourselves behind our mask

Social butterflies flitting here and there

A drop of nectar from me and one from you

Kiss, Kiss!

“How are you?” “Well, I have been better.”

“Stop right there I don’t want to know”

Cutting you off… too much information

No invested emotion here

Kiss, Kiss

“How are you?” “Oh, I am so glad you asked!”

“Here we go again… do I really have to listen to this?”

“Tell me what is going on, I would love to hear.”

“Don’t worry it will get better.”

Kiss, Kiss

“How are you?” “I am really struggling!”

“I am so sorry, tell me more.”

“What can I do to help?”

“I’ll call you soon!” “Then we’ll talk.”

Kiss, Kiss

“Hi how are you?” “I’m fine!”

“I can’t deal with this anymore”

“Love you, goodbye!”

Where Were You God…

Where Were You God When I Needed You Most…?

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Questioning God does not separate us from his love. When I heard of the shooting of several police officers in Dallas, TX this past week, this  question again came to mind. I thought about the families of those involved in recent police shootings and wondered how they were coping.  In my own experience. I went through some dark times in my mid-life that left me feeling alone with this same unanswerable question. Even though I was a person of faith, I did not find  the peace of mind that I was taught God would give me in my time of need. It was a very difficult time for me, as I am sure it is for those who are grieving  for their lost loved ones. The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Even our doubts and questions do not change God’s love for us.  This poem expresses some of my feelings, questions, and doubts during that time.  My heart goes out to the grieving families at this time.

Where were you God when I needed you most

When my life collapsed

And the one I loved will never come back

God, where were you when I believed you cared

When I trusted you to direct my path

Where was the promised peace of mind

That through difficult times I did not find

When I walked through the valley of the shadow of death

I feared every evil I felt all the pain

Where were you when I cried out in pain

When I pleaded I begged I called out your name

When I hurt so bad I wished I could die

Were you there to see did you hear my cry

I could not tell

I felt alone left to fate

With no way to help before it’s too late

Would all that happened have happened anyway

Or were you there

What do you say?

Where were you God

When I needed you most?